Heating pool with an undersized heater??

cgott42

Well-known member
Aug 23, 2009
45
Spring Valley, NY
I have an in-ground concrete pool located mostly in the SHADE , it's ~ 25 x48' (Roman Shaped).
We had a heat pump for the past few years, but it broke (seems the installer didn't set it up perfectly flat and over time collected water which corroded the parts, and replacement part is very expensive)
I could just buy a new one as the electric lines are already installed. However, ...
I'm thinking of going to a gas heater, as with the electric heat pump - I needed to start the heater early in the morning and since it uses the existing water pump - I couldn't run the filter overnight (cheaper rates) as I'd need to run it anyway during the day for the heat pump. And overall the satisfaction with the water temperature was good not great.(I would have gotten better results with a solar pool cover, but we tried but couldn't stick to doing it nightly, and an automated one is too costly).
So I'm thinking of going to gas. My pool runs parallel to the house in the back yard and begins approximately 30' from the house. and my water pump/filter is approximately 65-70' from the house.
I called the local gas company and it seems that my gas meter is "250" I asked if that was BTU's she said no, so I'm guessing (via google) that's AL-250 which < 350k BTU
I'm guessing for my size pool I'd need a 400k BTU (let me know if I should get more)
The Question is - that due to Covid - the gas company can't guarantee me that they'd be able to install the new meter this summer.
So my Q #1 is should I buy the larger 400k BTU heater and run it with the existing meter? (we like 80 water temperature, and without the heat is ~65 degrees)
Q#2 - given my setup, distance from house, etc - shoudl I just stick with electric or go gas (comfort and cost)?
thx
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
27,926
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
I believe the AL-250 meter will only supply 250 cubic feet of gas which is 250K BTU. A 400K BTU heater will not run properly on it. It may light but have incorrect air fuel mixture, sooting, and premature wear.

You can do 250K BTU heater which will heat your water about twice as fast as a HP. Or you can wait until the gas company can upgrade your meter and get the 400K heater. Depends what your priorities are.
 

cgott42

Well-known member
Aug 23, 2009
45
Spring Valley, NY
I believe the AL-250 meter will only supply 250 cubic feet of gas which is 250K BTU. A 400K BTU heater will not run properly on it. It may light but have incorrect air fuel mixture, sooting, and premature wear.

You can do 250K BTU heater which will heat your water about twice as fast as a HP. Or you can wait until the gas company can upgrade your meter and get the 400K heater. Depends what your priorities are.
Thanks for the info -as that was what I was concerned about. So that I'm clear - you're saying that getting a 400K BTU heater and use it on a 250k BTU meter (until they can install the 400K meter) will not just take longer to heat, but will damage the heater? Also, is this concern applicable for using it on the 250k for one summer (as I imagine they'll have it installed before next summer)?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
27,926
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
A 400K heater on the 250K gas line may not light at all, or it may have the wrong air/fuel mixture. I can’t say I have tested it. You can try it and take your chances. Worst case you have a brick until you get an upgraded gas line.
 

cgott42

Well-known member
Aug 23, 2009
45
Spring Valley, NY
I had a gas guy come - turns out my existing piping won't support the heater and will cost too much to lay down that amount of new piping. So going to stick with the Electric Heat Pump.
 
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